“There will be a lot of work to build and refine the operations of this association, but this is the first and most fundamental step we need to take,” Pospisil, who consulted Norton Rose Fulbright law firm to players, wrote in its message. He added: “Our voices will finally be heard and we will soon have an impact on the decisions that affect our lives and livelihoods.”
Gaudenzi, in a letter to players obtained by The Times, urged athletes to “not take lightly” the ramifications of the constitution of a new association while acknowledging that “no organizational structure is perfect”.
Gaudenzi defined the formation of an organization of competing players as an existential threat to the ATP and said the group should not expect to be recognized by tournaments. He argued that the action could threaten the power players already have in the sport.
“You have what other athletes in other sports would strive for: a seat at the boardroom table. This is what the players fought for in creating the ATP Tour, “said Gaudenzi.” It makes no sense why you would be better served by moving your role from the inside to the outside of the governance structure.
Milos Raonic, who won Friday to reach the final of the Western & Southern Open, which will be held in Queens at the same site as the United States Open next week, said he had plans to join the association and expected a majority of players to join him. Raonic said players were unhappy with the communication and leadership of Gaudenzi and other executives during the tour’s pandemic hiatus.
“The players have had plenty of time to think and reflect and take a look at some parts they might not be happy with and discuss,” said Raonic. He added: “I have expressed my opinion on many things, like other sports, executives of other sports accepting wage cuts to support us. As tennis players, we didn’t earn a cent for months on end. “
Gaudenzi closed his appeal to the players asking for unity.
“We should not forget that, as an entertainment product, our audience competition and long-term growth is with other sports and forms of entertainment,” he wrote. “Our battle is not with each other. Now more than ever it is time for unity and collaboration “.
Christopher Clarey contributed to the report.